Weather speculation: one week to go

It’s been a pretty incredible run of Birkies weather-wise since 2003 if you ignore years ending in 7. Still in all, it’s been the best 20-year run for skiing a full course, and to think back that from 1998 to 2002 there was a cancelation, a race that was shortened to 25k and a race that finished shy of the lake.

No such worries this year. Sunday will be a warm day. Cloudy and in the upper 30s and perhaps low 40s. It may be warm enough to melt the top layer of snow a bit as it will be reasonably breezy, but I doubt it will fully transform.

Not that it really matters. Temperatures drop tomorrow night and a long snow event begins on Monday. Most of this snow will fall with temperatures steady at or a bit below 10˚, so it will be a dry blanket of midwest snow and will certainly get blown around a bit as winds Monday and Tuesday will be strong and gusty. What the Birkie chooses to do with it is anyone’s guess, although with the open track event on Wednesday they will probably want to till it into the older base so that the trail sets up well (and it should).

Wednesday through Friday look cold. Well below zero overnight with highs struggling to make it to 10. Wednesday and Friday should at least be mostly sunny with light winds, and given that it’s late February, it should feel warmer. Not warm, but warmer. The snow should be mostly done by the open track event, but I would expect the skiing to be soft.

Then the big question: race day. It’s coming into more alignment that the cold high pressure bringing the cold air should move south and east, allowing slightly warmer air to come in on its backside. Friday night will still likely be cold, down to around 0 if not colder. But Saturday the sun should be out, and the temperature may reach into the mid-20s by mid-afternoon which, with the sun, may feel positively springlike. It’s unlikely to be much warmer, but a slower pattern could result in a colder day. The NWS right now says overnight low around -6˚ and a high of 22˚ and that sounds just about right.

We’ll check in with or Chief Meteorologist on Tuesday on the podcast for a final forecast. See you all soon!

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